As a marketer, you might already be using tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) software to track customer interactions with your company. But if you have a large number of digital touch points (websites, social media sites, phone calls, email, and live chat) the data you collect from your customers will be siloed. This can lead to inefficient decision-making processes, data duplication, and difficulty in collaboration between departments, which will limit your ability to entirely engage and satisfy your client.
Customer data software can help you overcome data silos and centralize customer data, giving you a 360-degree view of your customers. This tool integrates all customer data from multiple sources, and organizes it to create a single customer database.
This database can then be used by other marketing tools such as email marketing, marketing automation software, campaign management software, content marketing software, and customer analytics software to provide a more personalized and effective customer experience.
In this buyers guide, we’ll go through the features, benefits, and market trends related to customer data software to understand the tool and its capability better.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is customer data software?
Customer data software is a platform that collects and organizes customer data from multiple sources such as customer relationship management software, websites, social media, transactional data, and ecommerce behavioral data. The software creates a single, complete view of each customer that can be accessed by other systems to track, analyze, and manage customer interactions.
Key capabilities of a customer data platform include:
- Connects all tools that marketers use such as emails, analytics, CRM software, ecommerce, and social sites and provides a single source of data around customers.
- Manages customer privacy and data rights by controlling the flow of data between different marketing systems.
- Organizes data by customer demographics, audience segments, and other parameters to be used across marketing platforms and channels.
Real-time analytics in Segment Software (Source)
Common features of customer data software
Most customer data platforms generally have the following features:
||Divide customers into groups based on common characteristics so you can market to each group effectively and appropriately. The segmenting can be according to a number of factors such as industry, location, or products previously purchased.
||Target audiences by segmenting them into different criteria which may include age, gender, income, location, or interests. This helps in delivering more personalised and optimized experiences based on customers needs and interests.
||Use previous online user activity such as pages visited, content viewed, searches, clicks, and purchases to gain insight into their browsing habits. Customer behavior tracking can be used to target interest-based advertising or online behavioral advertising.
||Create buyer personas or user profiles by segmenting customers sharing similar goals and characteristics. Each group is given a representative with a photo, a name, and a description.
||Oversee the planning, execution, tracking, and analysis of a marketing initiative. This helps you to make necessary changes to attract more customers and achieve the campaign's goals.
||Interact with customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels. This includes websites, search engines, social media, email, mobile, promotional events, and conventional storefronts.
||Analyze the data captured from customers to help you to create trusted customer profiles and evidence-driven segmentation.
||Track how actively your audience is involved with your content to determine the effectiveness of your brand campaigns.
||Monitor the delivery of email messages to your prospects and customers. It allows you to monitor opens and clicks of emails, and check other metrics to improve the quality and efficiency of email marketing campaigns.
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing a customer data platform, you should assess what kind of a buyer you are. The majority of buyers fall into these categories:
- Business-to-business (B2B) buyers: Buyers in this category have businesses and companies as their customers. Their sales cycle is lengthy and can be complicated as it involves multiple marketing departments or touch points. It is important for such buyers to organize customer information from various touch points into one central database. They should opt for a tool with account-based marketing that maps leads to accounts and integrates with sales tools. Compiling data from all marketing, sales, and third-party sources will help such users to identify customers, create buyer segments, deliver targeted content, and deliver one-on-one marketing campaigns.
- Business-to-customer (B2C) buyers: Buyers in this category cater to individual consumers and generally have a shorter sales cycle than B2B enterprises. They should opt for a tool that allows organizations to interpret customer data to create effective personalized experiences. The software should be able to collect and unify all customer-related data across online and offline touch points and provide a 360-degree view of a single customer. This will help marketers to manage the fragmented data across channels, optimize multi-channel marketing, and deliver a tailored customer experience.
Benefits of customer data software
Below is a comprehensive list of benefits you can expect from customer data software:
- Increased revenue: The 360-degree customer database created by a customer data platform allows you to deliver well-targeted marketing to people with the right message and via the right channel. By analyzing the characteristics and behaviour of your customers, and segmenting them into groups within the platform, you can optimize customer acquisition, improve customer retention, and provide customized experiences, which in turn increases customer revenue.
- Campaign optimization: By implementing a customer data platform, you can gain insights into the efficiency and outcomes of marketing campaigns. The analysis and insights will help you solve problems such as mismatched content for a certain target audience and high advertising spend in the wrong channels. By gaining insights into previous campaigns, you will be able to improve the promotion of your products/services in the future.
- Compliance: Keeping customer data secure is essential for every business. Customer data software helps keep this data secured by pulling it from multiple sources to a single, secure platform. Features such as control permissions for data use, and contact data anonymization will help you comply with data privacy and security regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation Act (GDPR), and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
- Better understanding of consumer behaviour: A 360-degree view of your customer will allow you to understand every part of the customer journey and their behaviour during product purchase and transactions. The platform stores all relevant information coming from multiple sources (shipping, orders, reviews, complaints, and interactions) which can be used by the sales and marketing team to understand their consumers and strategically promote products and services to the right people, at the right time, and in the right place.
- Integration with other systems: Since the main function of customer data software is to collect data from different sources and touch points to create a complete view of a customer’s journey, their attributes, and their data in a single customer database, it is necessary that the software you choose integrates with any tool that your marketing and sales team currently uses. This can include CRM software, email marketing tools, web forms, and social media websites, and other offline channels.
- Scalability: Consumers create volumes of data and digital footprints before purchasing a product. The data generated can be transactional data, ad impressions, purchases, product usage, inquiries, and so on. To get a 360-degree view of the customer, the customer data software you choose should be able to pull customer data from a large number of sources, and grow with your business as your customer base grows.
Market trend to understand
Customer data platforms with artificial intelligence(AI) capabilities will make marketing more efficient: Artificial intelligence capabilities can help accelerate marketing goals. For example, AI can identify customers who are unlikely to convert and exclude them from campaigns, saving resources for higher-value customers. Using this technology, predictive models can be created that can generate actionable insights and understand which customers will buy the most. This enables marketers to make intelligent recommendations, and personalized customer experiences along with upselling or cross selling their products.
Realizing the benefits of AI-powered customer data platforms, customer data software vendors are adopting the technology in order to help users automate the process of collecting data from various touch points and helping reveal the relationships between customers and their journeys.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.